Past 2017 Presentations

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Nicole Larson: “Humpbacks Along The Central California Coast”

Why do the whales come to San Francisco? What are they eating and why are they so close to shore? What other cetaceans do we see? What can we do to protect them and encourage their return? These questions will be answered and more! Join local naturalist Nicole Larson on a photographic journey out to sea from the comfort of your chair.

Biography: Nicole Larson holds a Master’s in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor’s in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz. She has worked as a naturalist with the Oceanic Society since 2004, both at the field station in Belize and in the SF Bay Area. In California, she leads whale watching trips year-round.

Nicole’s goal is to inspire others to become ocean stewards as she was inspired herself. As Lead Educator with the Pacifica Beach Coalition, she develops and implements Earth Day programming and assemblies reaching thousands of students annually and gives public lectures on a variety of ocean topics. As Education Director with the ACS-San Francisco, she oversees and leads experiential and hands-on programs for students and travels throughout the Bay Area bringing environmental education to the public.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kip Evans: Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance

Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA) to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots—special places that are vital to the health of the ocean, the blue heart of our planet. From the seamounts of the high seas to the shallow sunlit reefs, Mission Blue seeks to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection from less than four percent today to 20% by the year 2020.

About Kip Evans, Director of Photography and Expeditions: As Director of Photography and Expeditions, Kip manages SEA’s image database, expedition planning and documentary production. He is an active participant in nearly every SEA expedition, functioning as producer, director and chief cinematographer for all content. Kip’s eye for great images is constantly sought by the team to ensure the most compelling and effective messaging and storytelling. He is also a Google Ocean Partner and has authored numerous postings throughout the “Explore the Ocean” layer in Google Earth. He joined the SEA in 2008 as its lead consultant for technology and expeditions.

Kip’s images have been widely published in books, exhibits, advertisements and magazines worldwide, including National Geographic Magazine, Patagonia, Outside, Sea and Coastal Living to name a few. During the past several years he has been on contract with National Geographic to provide photographic support to the California Education and the Environment Initiative, a state-mandated program designed for California’s K-12 education system.

Currently Kip is focusing his attention towards highlighting marine protected areas both in California and throughout the world. His documentary, “Isla Holbox – Whale Shark Island,” won “best non-broadcast documentary” at the 2010 BLUE Film Festival held in Monterey, California. Produced in the spring of 2010, “A Wave of Change” – Central Coast Marine Protected Areas, is Kip’s latest environmental film.

Kip graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1990, with a degree in Environmental/Marine Studies. In addition to his work in the oceans, Kip also enjoys rock climbing, backpacking and cycling. He currently resides in the Monterey Bay area with his wife and two children. His current selection of fine art photography can be viewed at

Tuesday, August 25, 2017

Claire Simeone: Understanding the Role of Sinus Parasites in Cetaceans Stranded Along the California Coast

Cetaceans strand for a variety of reasons, including infectious disease, trauma, intoxication and parasitism. Small cetaceans commonly have parasites that inhabit the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Worms can inhabit the sinuses, as well as the ear canal and middle ear. These parasites have occasionally been found damaging the nerves and brain of animals, causing disruption of equilibrium or acoustic abilities. However, it is unknown whether these parasites are commonly encountered without causing neurologic issues. Computed tomography (CT) scans assist researchers by providing important baseline data on the effects of these parasites on the animal’s health. The Marine Mammal Center and California Academy of Sciences are working together to better understand the role parasites play in strandings, in order to help us better manage live cetacean strandings in the future. Research Objective: determine the role sinus parasites play in stranded cetaceans in central California, by combining data from gross necropsy, histopathology, and advanced imaging.

About Dr. Claire Simeone: Dr. Claire Simeone is the Conservation Medicine Veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center and with National Marine Fisheries Service. She leads the International Veterinary In-Residence (IVIR) training program, in which marine mammal veterinarians spend three months at the Center, studying medicine and participating in a collaborative research project. ACS San Francisco Bay has supported two Residents in their research projects focused on cetacean health in the Bay. In addition to providing clinical care to the marine mammals undergoing rehabilitation at The Marine Mammal Center, she also responds to Unusual Mortality Events, provides veterinary support for field projects across the country and works on a variety of research projects.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kathi Koontz George, Oceanic Society: Whale Watching & Citizen Science

California has incredible biodiversity including nature’s largest and magnificent animals—whales. Learn how Oceanic Society (and YOU through citizen science) contribute to whale research (population monitoring), whale conservation and rescue (through entanglement responses), and whale education (international trips). Additionally, Kathi will share information about whale entanglement—2016 statistics, responses, and prevention efforts.

About Kathi Koontz George: Kathi (Koontz) George is the Bay Area Programs kathikoontzgeorge.JPGManager at Oceanic Society and the Director of California Whale Rescue. Kathi is also a permitted responder with NOAA’s whale entanglement response network. Kathi has participated in six whale disentanglements, numerous entangled whale responses, and over fifty sea lion disentanglements. Kathi is an avid diver, snorkeler, and advocate for marine wildlife. She has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and spends as much time as she can underwater and on boats.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mary T. Crowley, Project Kaisei & Ocean Voyage Institute

Project Kaisei is the ocean clean-up initiative of Ocean Voyage Institute , a non-profit organization based in San Francisco. It was established to focus on major ocean clean-up and to raise awareness regarding the global problem of marine debris/ocean trash. Since its inception in 2009, Project Kaisei heralds the need for our ocean ecosystem to recover and takes action both on land and in the sea. The 151’ Brigantine Kaisei has conducted a number of major expeditions to the North Gyre in addition to voyages to British Columbia and Mexico. These voyages have accomplished significant scientific research and resulted in global newspaper and magazine articles and TV and film pieces highlighting the devastating effects of plastic pollution in our ocean. All efforts to stop the flow of plastic into our global ocean — including innovations in manufacturing, packaging, changes in people’s behavior, and cleanups of all types, from neighborhood to river to beach to gyre — are important. The very act of picking up plastics creates awareness and change in behavior. People engaged in cleanup often inspire changed behavior in others around them.

About Mary T. Crowley:  Mary Crowley is the founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute established in 1979 as a public charity and based in Sausalito, California, with the goal of preserving the maritime arts and sciences, the ocean environment and island cultures. Mary is one of the founders and project director of the Project Kaisei , the ocean clean-up initiative of Ocean Voyages Institute. She is also founder and CEO of Ocean Voyages, Inc, an international yacht chartering company that offers trips on sailing vessels and luxury yachts worldwide. She believes access to the ocean world educates people on the importance of its preservation. Mary has sailed aboard the 151′ Brigantine Kaisei for two month-long expeditions to the North Pacific Gyre as on board program director for Project Kaisei.

Ms. Crowley previously served as Executive Director of the Oceanic Society, publisher of Oceans magazine and on the board of Directors of Project Jonah, the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Sail San Francisco and many other organizations. Her current board positions include Ocean Voyages Institute, the Richardson Bay Maritime Association and the SAN SALVADOR. She is a founding member of Planetree, which enhances healing environments in hospitals and healthcare education.

Besides being an educated and ardent environmentalist, Mary has found time to enjoy exploring the world via yacht, logging well over 100,000 miles at sea. It is Mary’s lifelong passion for sailing, snorkeling, diving and exploring the world’s oceans that has fueled her continuing commitment and dedication to ocean conservation and the marine environment. She feels we all need to take action to improve the health of our oceans. She is committed to fostering solutions on the urgent issue of plastic debris in our global ocean both through stopping the flow of plastic garbage into to the ocean and through massive ocean clean-ups.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

David McGuire, Founder of Shark Stewards: Marine Protected Areas

Do Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Sanctuaries Save Sharks? A look at protection measures in California and beyond and the effectiveness of MPAs and Sanctuaries on shark conservation. As Co- Chair of the Golden Gate Marine Protected Area Collaboration, Shark Stewards is a committed partner in the state’s marine protection. As part of a statewide network, their mission is to help communicate the importance of Marine Protected Areas along the San Francisco & Marin shorelines and assist fishermen to comply with the regulations under the California Marine Life Protection Act.

About David McGuire, MEH, Director of Shark Stewards: A marine biologist and ocean advocate, David McGuire is the founder of the Ocean Health and Shark Conservation non-profit Shark Stewards. As a Research Associate of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences, David is conducting a shark research program that includes population studies, movements and fisheries impacts.

As Captain, Dive Master and filmmaker, David has explored the world ocean on numerous sailing voyages producing media with an emphasis on ocean awareness. Educated in Marine Biology, he holds a Masters degree in Environmental Health and has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade and is a lecturer at the University of San Francisco. He also speaks to students of all ages and to the public on the importance of sharks to the oceans. David is also an author of numerous articles and fiction and non-fiction books including Surviving the Shark. He sits on several boards of non-profits including The San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association.

Having worked as a stakeholder and participant establishing California Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) under the Marine Life Protection Act, he is now Co-Chair of the Golden Gate Marine Protected Area Collaborative with Mr. Brian Baird of the Bay Institute. This group of beach walkers, fishermen, NGOS, Government, Academics, Aquariums and general public are working to communicate and educate the general public about MPAs and facilitate compliance.

Tuesday, March 28, 2016

Dr. James Sumich: Gray Whales: Jim will discuss the past and current distributions, migrations, and genetics of gray whales, and some likely future scenarios for this species in the in the context of our changing climate. Jim’s book “E. robustus: The Biology and Human History of Gray Whales” will be available for purchase and signing at the talk.

About Dr. James Sumich: Jim is the author of a best-selling textbook on marine biology (now in its 11th edition) and co-author of the widely adopted “Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology.” He has taught marine mammal biology at the college and university level for more than four decades and has conducted research on gray whales from British Columbia to Baja California.  Jim currently holds a Courtesy Faculty appointment at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. He has been a long-time friend to ACS (he was guest editor of the Whalewatcher issue on gray whales) and has recently published a general audience book “E. robustus: The Biology and Human History of Gray Whales.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols: Discussing His Book “Go Deeper: The Seven Ages of Water”

Go Deeper picks up where Blue Mind left off and explores the cognitive, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual benefits of healthy waterways and oceans at each of the seven stages of our lives from birth through death. Through new cutting edge science – on everything from play to romance to death – and gripping stories and fascinating protagonists you’ll learn even more about yourself, how water supports us at each age and how to live better on this blue marble planet. Yes, water is natural for a man who runs Blue Mind Life, which reconnects people to water. It grew out his first book, whose full title is self-explanatory: “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.’’ Dr. Nichols will be signing copies of Go Deeper: The Seven Ages of Water which will be available for sale at the presentation.

About Dr. Wallace J. Nichols: Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols, called “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and “a visionary” by Outside Magazine is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author and sought-after lecturer. His experiences as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger and more diverse blue movement. Dr. Nichols has shared hundreds of keynotes and workshops for a variety of organizations, teams, businesses, and professional associations in environmental science, health care, travel, real estate, and recreation. His goals are to more deeply and personally connect all people to water for life, help individuals and organizations find and tell their authentic water stories, and guide leaders in the process of swimming through the walls that hold them back.

Dr. Nichols’ research interests span ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management, and plastic pollution with special emphasis on building new action networks and developing novel interdisciplinary solutions, sometimes involving so-called enemies. He takes a slow, collaborative approach with leaders in businesses, government, non-profits, and academia to inspire a deeper connection with nature and inventive approaches to pressing issues ranging from supplies of fresh water to improved hospice care for our aging population.

His current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water. In this story, society accurately describes all of the physical, ecological, economic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social benefits of healthy oceans and waterways. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists to ask and answer exciting new questions his work is transforming many sectors, including: health and well-being; education and parenting; arts, architecture and design; real estate and urban planning; travel and leisure; and sports and recreation.

His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller and has been translated to numerous languages and inspired a wave of media and practical application.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dirk Rosen: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Deep

Join MARE’s Dirk Rosen and unlock the mysteries of the Channel Islands’ deep waters and see spectacular new footage of California’s ocean wilderness. Dirk will highlight the remarkable success of California’s network of marine reserves in the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

MARE: Applied Research & Exploration (MARE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that uses science-based marine conservation efforts to help protect and restore the ocean’s invaluable, yet threatened resources. Using cost-effective and innovative deepwater robotic technology and data analysis expertise, MARE assesses changes in marine life and habitat over time to inform ocean management and support wild sustainable fisheries for future generations.

About Dirk Rosen: Dirk is the founder and Executive Director of Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE). He has 25+ years of deepwater vehicle design, build and operations experience with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and manned submersibles. He has led or co-led 20 ROV surveys assessing marine protected areas (MPAs), exploring deepwater National Marine Sanctuary sites, recovering lost science equipment and and evaluating the impacts of fishing gear. Dirk founded MARE in 2003 as a not-for- profit research organization to apply underwater technologies with science to answer marine ecosystem questions. To that end, he co-convened an international workshop in Monterey to define the best and most economical application(s) for the various visual underwater survey tools. Prior to starting MARE, Dirk was president of Deep Ocean Engineering, test pilot for all three Deep Rover 1,000 meter-rated manned submersibles, and a designer/operator of the Phantom and Bandit Remotely Operated Vehicle systems, (of which more than 500 were built). Later at Hawkes Ocean Technologies he was the project manager for the 11,000 meter rated Challenger, a manned submersible designed to go to the deepest point in the ocean, the Marianas Trench. He serves as the engineering reviewer for California’s Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel.